MISSOULA – After more than a month of being closed due to elevated levels of asbestos in the building, the University of Montana’s McGill Hall opened it doors to faculty and staff on Monday morning.
Certified industrial hygienists, local contractors and university facility crews have been hard at work performing a deep clean on the building, along with some asbestos remediation.
The first and second floors of the building are open, but the basement is still sealed off until they can complete the abatement process on the bottom level.
The total cost of the cleanup was around $200,000 which came from the university’s facilities fund
Students can resume their classes in the building, which features some extremely specialized equipment that could not be recreated elsewhere on campus.
Also unique to the McGill cleanup was one of the areas where the asbestos was discovered.
“In particular in this facility the floor tiles, which are 9X9 tiles, are known to have asbestos in their construction,” said UM Communications Director Paula Short. “We now believe the wear and tear, the normal wear and tear on the flooring, is one cause for asbestos so we have since HEPA-cleaned those floors and we have sealed them with a sealant and multiple coats of wax and that is an industry accepted standard for encapsulating known asbestos containing materials.”
Those floor tiles are in other buildings around campus, so the University will continue sealing and waxing the tiles to prevent airborne contamination.
The University also says that they will continue to monitor other buildings for elevated asbestos levels as building around campus continue to show their old age.
Search continues for new ASUM Child Care location
Later this week community members will have the opportunity to learn about more about the potential new locations for ASUM Child Care.
The child care center is now temporarily located to the Phyllis Washington Education Center, while McGill Hall was closed after asbestos was found in the building.
The university has been exploring options for a permanent location for the child care facility.
As we reported last week, one possible location is the library at the Missoula College, which raised some concerns from students.
So later this week, ASUM will host three input sessions to provide an opportunity for community members to learn about potential locations that they have considered to date, as well as understanding the evaluation criteria. They are encouraging people to attend and give their input.
There are two listening sessions this Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the UC Theater and from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Missoula College in room 340.
The third listening session is Friday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the U.C. Theater.
After conducting these input sessions and completing follow-up analysis, UM plans to announce a course of action before spring break which is March 25.
Reporting by Connor McCauley for MTN News